Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc is explaining comments he made at a private meeting back in 2010 to discuss the contract between the city and the Irving-owned Wildcats hockey team.

Confidential city council minutes from 2010 obtained by CBC News indicate that LeBlanc told council an $88,000 payment to the Wildcats by the city was included in the hockey contract to lure another Irving business to the city.

LeBlanc denies that.


Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc says an $88,000 annual payment by the city to the Moncton Wildcats hockey team has always been to compensate the team for the lack of corporate boxes at the Moncton Coliseum. (CBC)

"Actually, I did not say that, nor do the leaked minutes say that," said LeBlanc. "They say that someone else told me that."

LeBlanc did not say who told him that was the purpose of the payment.

The mayor says the $88,000 annual payment was to compensate the hockey team for a lack of corporate boxes at the city-owned Moncton Coliseum.

The clause has been in the city's contract with Wildcats since the first contract was negotiated in 1999. LeBlanc says the city will continue to make those payments until the boxes are built.

LeBlanc says there is no connection between the payment and the decision by Robert Irving and J.D. Irving to establish Irving Personal Care Ltd, a diaper manufactuing plant, in Moncton's Caledonia Industrial Park five years after the initial Wildcats deal was signed.

"There's nothing in the agreement with the Wildcats that suggests that the money was to be used for another company," said LeBlanc. "In fact, that development wasn't built until much later, years later in fact."

LeBlanc says the person who leaked the council minutes to CBC was reckless and said it was an attempt to embarrass Irving, the Wildcats and the city.

City councillors voted unanimously to ask the RCMP to investigate the leaked documents.

City council also agreed to a new three-year deal with the Wildcats.